Irish religious orders will have property worth over $300million seized by the State to foot the bill for compensation for the victims of sexual abuse.
New Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn has revealed that he will seize land and property from 18 religious orders to honor their financial commitments to victims of residential institutional abuse.
Quinn is to force religious orders to hand schools over to the Department of Education to meet the shortfall of over $300 million due from the 18 orders named in the Ryan Report.
The congregations had agreed to pay €476million as their half of the compensation due to victims which included €128million paid over in 2002.
The Sunday Times reports that of the new funds promised last year by the religious orders, only $35 million has been paid over.
“The religious orders owe us money,” Quinn told the Sunday Times.
“They have promised us some of the costs but they are still shy a couple of hundred million Euro.
“The deal that was originally done with the government was meant to be a 50-50 split of the €1.36billion bill. They are way short of that.
“They have no money but they have assets and I want the Irish taxpayer to get those assets. I want legal ownership of their schools.”
Quinn is to seek meetings with the 18 religious orders to facilitate the transfer of school buildings to the Department of Education but will leave the congregations in charge of the schools.
The Minister added: “I will meet with those religious orders who own substantial chunks of school educational property and I will be looking for the legal transfer of the ownership of their educational structure to the Department of Education and Skills.
“This will be done at no cost in return for equalizing the debt that is due to the state and the taxpayer.
“I am not trying to bankrupt them. I am simply saying to them that I know they don’t have cash but they have assets and to sign over their ownership of those assets to the State.”Read more: Irish Minister says religion in schools is a waste of class time